Next stop in Kansai

Hello everybody,

due to the high pressure I got from some readers “When will you publish the next article??”, here is my report about Osaka 🙂
To be honest, I wasn’t expecting to be read by so many people, but it seems that my articles are a good way to fight boredom at work to relax after a hard day work 😉

Osaka is the city where I spent the most time till now. I didn’t plan to stay that long there at first, but as I had no motivation to make small moves to my next stops (Koyasan and Himeji), I prefered to keep Osaka as my base and do some day trips from here.

Day 1 Kuromon Market/Den Den Town
After I arrived by train from Nara and checked in at my guesthouse, I used the afternoon to walk around a bit in the district I’m based in.
The first highlight is the Kuromon market. This is a huge covered hall, where you can find a lot of fish shops and restaurants.
The offer is simply amazing. It is a bit similar to the fish market in Tokyo. There are different kind of seafood but what I prefer the most are the huge oysters, the baby octopus skewers and the globe fishes.

After a quick sushi lunch, I am moving 2 streets further to the so called Denden Town. This district is similar to the Akihabara district and is packed with electronic equipment stores and everything an Otaku might need (anime and manga stores, video games arena, etc…).
I find many stores specialised in Mangas figurines (for example the complete collection of the Saint Seya golden knights) and some of them even have small Goldorak statues 🙂

Day 2 Osaka Castle/Tsutenkaku Tower/Shitennoji Temple
For my second day, I planned a pure touristic route. First, I am visiting the Osaka Castle. It is packed with a huge number of tourists, but the top offers a great view on the city and it is very pleasant to walk in the park around especially with a great weather.

After that, I am moving to the South to take a look at the city from the Tsutenkaky tower. The view from the top is also amazing.

Finally, I finish my day with a short visit of the Shitennoshi temple. I am not staying a long time there, as it is almost night and I kind of start being bored by temples 🙂

Day 3 Day trip Himeji/ Sky Garden / Christmas market.

For my third day at Osaka, I decide to make a 1-Day trip to Himeji. This is a small city 50 minutes west of Osaka. The highlight in Himeji is the big white castle surrounded by a wonderful garden. The weather there is amazing, which is good to make pictures, but the temperature is quite low. We are near 0° and I am happy to have my 3 layers of clothing.

When I come back from Himeji, I decide to make a short stop in the Umeda district before going home. I find out that there’s a christmas market there and drink a nice Glûhwein before going to up to the Umeda Sky Building. There is also Löwenbrau Oktoberfest beer but as I already didn’t like it in Munich, I choose to stick to the Glûhwein.

The upper part of the sky garden building, called the floating garden observatory is a very nice place, which offers an amazing view on the city. I understand that it is also a nice place for a date, as I take a seat with my beer between couples on a table near the window 🙂

Day 4 Day trip Koyasan / Spa World

On day 4, I make another 1-day trip but this time in Koyasan. This village is located in the mountains in the south east of Osaka. It is the base of the Shingon japanese buddhism. Travelling there takes quite some time as it takes first a train ride, then a funicular ride and finally a bus ride to get to the village center.
I first take walk in the cemetery. It is a 2 km long walk where you get to see a lot of funerary stones of every kind of people, from lower citizen to commanders of the japanese army. The walk is quite impressive, as there are around 200000 stones along the way. Moreover, on the day I went there the weather was quite crappy and it started snowing while I was in the cemetary.

When I came back from Koyasan, i decided to allow me some relaxation time and I went to the Spa World, which was then my first experience with the japanese Onsen. Onsen are public baths with hot waters where you can just relax, go to the Sauna or just wash.

Day 5 Day with Fanny and Yusuke / Short round trip to Kobe

Day 5 was one of the most funny I’ve had so far in Japan. I met 2 new friends, Fanny and Yusuke, one of her friend. Fanny is the little sister of Sara, a friend from Lausanne.
After a first coffee near the Osaka Umeda station, Fanny and I are going by train to Kobe.Yusuke is having a job interview and will join us later.
In Kobe, we first take a walk through Chinatown where i find a panda mascot for my blog. Then we explore the harbour district and enjoy the night view on Kobe from the top of the Kobe tower.
Yusuke is joining us afterwards, and as his job interview was successfull, we have to celebrate that and so they make me try Umeshu, a dangerous plum liqueur (dangerous because very sweet).
We then struggle to find a place to eat as the city is very crowded due to the light festival in Kobe. Finally we find a place in a nice BBQ place but before we make a stop in video game place to try pericura. Pericura are typical japanese photo booths where faces are a bit whitened and softened and eyes a bit rounded. You can also put some stamps and small text in “post production”.
Pericura are particularly loved by girls 🙂

After diner, we take a short walk in the street decorated for the light festival. Thanks to Yusuke, we passed all the people who have been queuing during hours to be just on time to take pictures before the closing.

Day 6 Universal Studios Japan

On my last day in Osaka, I choose to spend some time at the Universal Studios Japan before heading to Okayama. This is a huge entertainment parc with different parts decorated based on the Universal blockbusters, for example Terminator, Jaws or Waterworld.
The most famous part is definitely the Harry Potter part, where people are queuing ages to ride the Forbidden journey Rollercoaster.

This is it for Osaka, next station is Okayama!

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